Good Reading -- April 2016
Facts and Figures
"General Electric's annual report was downloaded from its website only 800 times in 2013, according the company." -- Hard to believe but apparently true, as noted in a typically good column from Jason Zweig and this earlier article about annual report readership (or lack thereof).
Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism -- Jeff Gramm is a hedge fund manager and adjust professor at Columbia Business School. He's also a good writer, and I highly recommend this book. It has a good mix of smart, insightful history and irreverent commentary.
All About Network Effects -- An authority on the subject (thanks Pat!) sent this to me, and he gave good advice in telling me to set aside the time to absorb it. There is a lot to think about, all with important business implications.
The Fall of China's Hedge Fund King -- This is a fascinating article. I wish it were longer or made into a book, but given the reluctance of anyone to speak on the record -- or the murkiness of the entire situation -- the details or full story will probably never be known.
Jamie Dimon on Finance: 'Who Owns the Future?' -- A masterclass on finance, banking, leadership and corporate management.
Shareholder letter -- Don't miss Dimon's annual letter to shareholders, which is always one of the best in the business.
Bill Gates on Reddit -- Lots of interesting commentary in here.
The Next Age of Invention -- Following up on my prior recommendation of Gordon's book "The Rise and Fall of American Growth," this article from Gordon's colleague is a worthwhile counterpoint. There are plenty of so-called "techno-optimists" but few who are also academic economists.
What Happened When Venture Capitalists Took Over the Golden State Warriors -- If you like basketball, or just offshoots of business/investing/venture capital, this is a good article (even if the VC angle gets stretched).
The WSJ also put out a similar article a few days later.
Sticking to the theme of basketball non sequitors, Sam Hinkie's letter of resignation as GM of the 76ers is...unique, to say the least. Within the first few sentences he confesses his love of reading investor letters, and he's soon digressing into a discussion (if you can call it that) of Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Seth Klarman, and Howard Marks. Elon Musk and Atul Gawande, among many others, also make an appearance.
FCIC interview of Warren Buffett, May 26, 2010 -- The full transcript is out and worth a read.
Andy Grove -- Sad news in the passing last month of Andy Grove. He wrote a great book and his co-author reflects here. His article 20 years ago about his fight against prostate cancer is oddly compelling. (Thanks to Craig for sending that.)
John Gutfreund -- The former CEO of Salomon passed away recently and the WSJ reprinted from its archives the coverage of the Treasury auction scandal, which makes for fascinating reading. (You have to scroll down and click on John Gutfreund). Cool footage of old Wall Street (featuring Gutfreund ~10:00, along with Gerald Tsai later) is here. (Thanks to Craig for sending this).
Berkshire's Disintermediation: Buffett's New Managerial Model -- Some of you may have seen this when it came out in 2015. But in case you need further reason to read it, author Larry Cunningham notes that Buffett himself ordered 25 copies to send to his board and Berkshire executives.
A video presentation of the same by Mr. Cunningham at last year's Berkshire meeting
Hey, Economist! How Well Do We Weather Snowstorms? -- Major New York snowstorms do not have a lasting economic, as you'd expect. And even though 13 of 16 storms on record have started on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, that is merely a (lucky?) coincidence - be sure to see the comments section for clarification.